Sure, we’ve known for years now that the flame-resistant chemicals used throughout our built environment — in our homes, furniture, electronics, and textiles — are problematic. They’re endemic in humans living in the First World, with possible health effects on our fertility and development. And even if you weren’t a breastfed baby, absorbing them straight from mom, you’re still picking them up in your everyday household dust.
This spring, the Chicago Tribune ran a classic multipart investigative series on flame retardants, documenting a history of collusion between cigarette and chemical manufacturers to fill our homes with flame retardants — which, apart from being toxic in themselves, do eventually catch fire and emit noxious fumes while burning.
As with the bisphenol A controversy — just one of many chemicals leaching into our food via packaging — public opinion is starting to swing against the widespread use of chemical flame retardants, with a May “stroller brigade” march on Washington in support of the Safe Chemicals Act.
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